obtain books that strip away the myths and tell the truth about Cassavetes
and the making of Shadows and Faces.
Rowlands has waged a campaign devoted to savaging Prof. Carney's reputation
for telling the truth about John Cassavetes' life and work. She is terrified
of the truth and interested in covering it up and denying it. Click
for a glimpse of what Cassavetes was really like as a person, and an illustration
of the kinds of facts that Rowlands is retaliating against Carney for
revealing. To obtain books that strip away the myths and tell the truth
about Cassavetes and the making of Shadows and Faces. Her
treatment of his Shadows and Faces finds, and her insistence
that Criterion remove his name from the Cassavetes box set that he spent
more than eight months helping to create are part of her attempt to silence
read a chronological listing of events between 1979 and the present connected
with Ray Carney's search for, discovery of, and presentation of new material
by or about John Cassavetes, including a chronological listing of the
attempts of Gena Rowlands's and Al Ruban's to deny or suppress Prof. Carney's
here for best printing of text
Ray Carney, Cassavetes
on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber in London, and Farrar, Straus
and Giroux in New York), copiously illustrated, paperback, approximately
550 pages. Available directly from the author for $25.
on Cassavetes is the autobiography John Cassavetes never lived to
write. It tells an extraordinary saga – thirty years of film history,
chronicling the rise of the American independent movement – as
it was lived by one of its pioneers and one of the most important artists
in the history of the medium. The struggles, the triumphs, the crazy
dreams and frustrations are all here, told in Cassavetes' own words. Cassavetes
on Cassavetes tells the day-by-day story of the making of some of
the greatest and most original works of American film. —from the "Introduction:
John Cassavetes in His Own Words"
here to access a detailed description of the book and a summary
of the topics covered in it.
on Cassavetes is available in the United States through Amazon and Barnes
and Noble, and in England through Amazon (UK), Faber
and Faber (UK). It is also available at your local bookseller,
or, for a limited time, directly from the author (in discounted,
specially autographed editions) for $25 via this web site. See
below for information how to order this book directly from this web
site by money order, check, or credit card (using PayPal).
* * *
Ray Carney, Shadows (BFI
Film Classics, ISBN: 0-85170-835-8), 88
pages. This book is available directly from the author via
this web site for $20.
"Ray Carney is a tireless
researcher who probably knows more about the shooting of Shadows than
any other living being, including Cassavetes when he was alive, since
Carney, after all, has the added input of ten or more of the films
participants who remember their own unique versions of the reality
we all shared."Maurice
McEndree, producer and editor of Shadows
is fortunate to have such a diligent champion. I am absolutely dumbfounded
by the depth of your research into this film.... Your appendix...is
a definitive piece of scholarly detective work.... The Robert Aurthur
revelation is another bombshell and only leaves me wanting to know
more.... The book movingly captures the excitement and dynamic Cassavetes
discovered in filmmaking; and the perseverance and struggle of getting
it up there on the screen."Tom
Charity, Film Editor, Time
John Cassavetes Shadows is
generally regarded as the start of the independent feature movement
in America. Made for $40,000 with a nonprofessional cast and crew and
borrowed equipment, the film caused a sensation on its London release
The film traces the lives
of three siblings in an African-American family: Hugh, a struggling
jazz singer, attempting to obtain a job and hold onto his dignity;
Ben, a Beat drifter who goes from one fight and girlfriend to another;
and Lelia, who has a brief love affair with a white boy who turns on
her when he discovers her race. In a delicate, semi-comic drama of
self-discovery, the main characters are forced to explore who they
are and what really matters in their lives.
Shadows ends with the
title card "The film you have just seen was an improvisation," and
for decades was hailed as a masterpiece of spontaneity, but shortly
before Cassavetes death, he confessed to Ray Carney something
he had never before revealed – that much of the film was scripted.
He told him that it was shot twice and that the scenes in the second
version were written by him and Robert Alan Aurthur, a professional
Hollywood screenwriter. For Carney, it was Cassavetes Rosebud.
He spent ten years tracking down the surviving members of the cast
and crew, and piecing together the true story of the making of the
Carney takes the reader behind
the scenes to follow every step in the making of the movie – chronicling
the hopes and dreams, the struggles and frustrations, and the ultimate
triumph of the collaboration that resulted in one of the seminal masterworks
of American independent filmmaking.
Highlights of the presentation
are more than 30 illustrations (including the only existing photographs
of the dramatic workshop Cassavetes ran in the late fifties and of
the stage on which much of Shadows was shot, and a still showing
a scene from the "lost" first version of the film); and statements
by many of the film's actors and crew members detailing previously
unknown events during its creation.
One of the most interesting
and original aspects of the book is a nine-page Appendix that "reconstructs" much
of the lost first version of the film for the first time. The Appendix
points out more than 100 previously unrecognized differences between
the 1957 and 1959 shoots, all of which are identified in detail both
by the scene and the time at which they occur in the current print
of the movie (so that they may be easily located on videotape or DVD
by anyone viewing the film).
By comparing the two versions,
the Appendix allows the reader to eavesdrop on Cassavetes' process
of revision and watch his mind at work as he re-thought, re-shot, re-edited
his movie. None of this information, which Carney spent more than five
years compiling, has ever appeared in print before (and, as the presentation
reveals, the few studies that have attempted to deal with this issue
prior to this are proved to have been completely mistaken in their
assumptions). The comparison of the versions and the treatment of Cassavetes'
revisionary process is definitive and final, for all time.
This book is available through University
of California Press at Berkeley, Amazon, Barnes
and Noble, and in England through Amazon (UK)
British Film Institute. For a limited time, the Shadows book
is also available directly from the author (in discounted, specially
autographed editions) via this web site. See
information below on how to order this book directly from the author
by money order, check, or credit card (PayPal).
Clicking on the above links
will open a new window in your browser. You may return to this page
by closing that window or by clicking on the window for this page again.
For reviews and critical responses
to Ray Carney's book on the making of Shadows, please click
* * *
Ray Carney, John Cassavetes:
The Adventure of Insecurity
(Boston: Company C Publishing, 1999), 25 illustrations, paperback, 68 pages.
This book is available directly from the author for $15.
on all of the major films, including Shadows, Faces, Husbands, Minnie
and Moskowitz, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing
of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night, and Love Streams
unknown information about Cassavetes' life and working methods
previously unpublished interview with Ray Carney about Cassavetes
about life and art by Cassavetes
illustrated with more than two dozen behind-the-scenes photographs
here to access a detailed description of the book.
book is available through Amazon, Barnes
and Noble, your local bookseller, or, for a limited time, directly
from the author (in discounted, specially autographed editions). See
below for information how to order this book directly from the author
by money order, check, or credit card.
Clicking on the above links
will open a new window in your browser. You may return to this page
by closing that window or by clicking on the window for this page again.
Carney, The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism,
and the Movies
(New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 48 illustrations,
paperback, 322 pages. This book is available directly from the author for $20.
The Films of John Cassavetes tells the inside story of the making
of six of Cassavetes' most important works: Shadows, Faces, Minnie
and Moskowitz, A Woman under the Influence, The Killing
of a Chinese Bookie, and Love Streams.
With the help of almost
fifty previously unpublished photographs from the private collections
of Sam Shaw and Larry Shaw, and excerpts from interviews with the
filmmaker and many of his closest friends, the reader is taken
behind the scenes to watch the maverick independent at work: writing
his scripts, rehearsing his actors, blocking their movements, shooting
his scenes, and editing them. Through words and pictures, Cassavetes
is shown to have been a deeply thoughtful and self-aware artist
and a profound commentator.
This iconoclastic, interdisciplinary
study challenges many accepted notions in film history and aesthetics. Ray
Carney argues that Cassavetes' films participate in a previously
unrecognized form of pragmatic American modernism that, in its
ebullient affirmation of life, not only goes against the world-weariness
and despair of many twentieth-century works of art, but also places
his works at odds with the assumptions and methods of most contemporary
Cassavetes' films are
provocatively linked to the philosophical writing of Ralph Waldo
Emerson, William James, and John Dewy, both as an illustration
of the artistic consequences of a pragmatic aesthetic and as an
example of the challenges and rewards of a life lived pragmatically.
Cassavetes' work is shown to reveal stimulating new ways of knowing,
feeling, and being in the world.
This book is available through Amazon, Barnes
and Noble, your local bookseller, or, for a limited time, directly from
the author (in discounted, specially autographed editions). See
below for information how to order this book directly from the author by money
order, check, or credit card.
Clicking on the above
links will open a new window in your browser. You may return to
this page by closing that window or by clicking on the window for
this page again.
and critical responses to The Films of John Cassavetes,
here. (Use your back button to return.)
* * *
Ray Carney, American
Dreaming: The Films of John Cassavetes and the American Experience (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1985). $20.
[From the original dust
jacket description:] John Cassavetes is known to millions of filmgoers
as an actor who has appeared in Rosemary’s Baby, The
Dirty Dozen, Whose Life Is It, Anyway?, Tempest,
and many other Hollywood movies. But what is less known is that
Cassavetes acts in these films chiefly in order to finance his
own unique independent productions. Over the past 25 years, working
almost entirely outside the Hollywood establishment, Cassavetes
has written, directed, and produced ten extraordinary films. They
range from romantic comedies like Shadows and Minnie
and Moskowitz to powerful, poignant domestic dramas like Faces and A
Woman Under the Influence to unclassifiable emotional extravaganzas
like Husbands, The Killing
of a Chinese Bookie, and Gloria.
This is the first book-length
study ever devoted to this controversial and iconoclastic filmmaker.
It is the argument of American Dreaming that Cassavetes
has single-handedly produced the most stunningly original and important
body of work in contemporary film. Raymond Carney examines Cassavetes’ life
and work in detail, traces his break with Hollywood, and analyzes
the cultural and bureaucratic forces that drove him to embark on
his maverick career. Cassavetes' work is considered in the context
of other twentieth-century forms of traditional and avant-garde
expression and is provocatively contrasted with the better-known
work of other American and European filmmakers.
The portrait of John Cassavetes
that emerges in these pages is of an inspiringly idealistic American
dreamer attempting to beat the system and keep alive his dream
of personal freedom and individual expression – just as the
characters in the films excitingly try to keep alive their middle-class
dreams of love, freedom, and self-expression in the hostile emotional
and familial environments in which they function. His films are
chronicles of the yearnings, desires, and frustrations of the American
dream. He is America’s truest historian of the inevitable
conflict between the ideals and the realities of the American experience.
the most thorough, ambitious, and far-reaching criticism of Cassavetes'
work has been accomplished by Raymond Carney, currently Professor
of Film and American Studies at Boston University. Carney wrote
the first book-length study of Cassavetes,
who languished in critical obscurity until the publication of Carney's American
Dreaming in 1985.... In Carney's view, to settle the accounts
of our lives, to decide once and for all, is, for Cassavetes, to
tumble headlong into the abyss of nonentity upon which we incessantly
verge. Carney argues that Cassavetes has re-invented the craft
of filmmaking in ways that drastically alter our casual habits
of film viewing. To adapt William James' terminology (which Carney
is indebted to) Cassavetes' works are concerned less with the events
and finished episodes that make up the 'substantive' parts of our
experience and more with the moments of insecurity, the 'transitive'
slippages during which our habitual strategies for understanding
and stabilizing our relationships with ourselves and others cease
to function in any useful way.... Carney's work with Cassavetes,
placed within the context of his later book, American Vision,
on Frank Capra, can be viewed as an attempt not only to further
the understanding of American film, but to forge a new synthesis
of understanding in American Studies, making his critical works
valuable not only to film scholars, but to students of American
culture generally." — Lucio
Benedetto, PostScript Magazine
The Films of John Cassavetes and the American Experience (Berkeley,
California: University of California Press, 1985), the first
book ever written about Cassavetes' life and work, in any language.
It has long been out of print but is now newly available through
this web site for $20 in a Xerox of the original edition. You
may order with a credit card through PayPal or through the
mail with a money order. See below.
* * *
two packets of Ray Carney's writings on John Cassavetes (material
not included in any of the above books) are also specially available
through this web site. These packets contain the texts of many
of his notes and essays about the filmmaker. Each packet is available
Essays on the Life and Work of John Cassavetes (a packet
of essays by Ray Carney previously published in magazines,
newspapers, and periodicals and now unavailable). Approximately
bound packet of Ray Carney's writings on John Cassavetes is specially
available only through this web site. The packet has the complete
texts of program notes and essays about Cassavetes that were published
by Ray Carney in a variety of film journals and general interest
periodicals between 1989 and the present. It contains more than
fifteen separate pieces – including the keynote essay commissioned
by the Sundance Film Festival for their retrospective of Cassavetes'
work at the time of his death as well as the memorial piece on
Cassavetes awarded a prize by The Kenyon Review as "one
of the best essays of the year by a younger author."
also contains the text Ray Carney contributed to the "Special
John Cassavetes Issue" of PostScript edited by Ray
Carney, including "A Polemical Introduction: The Road Not
Taken," "Seven Program Notes from the American Tour of
the Complete Films: Faces, Minnie and Moskowitz, Woman
Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie,
and Love Streams."
The Collected Essays
on the Life and Work of John Cassavetes is not for sale
in any store, and available exclusively on this web site for
$15.00 under the same credit payment terms or at the same mailing
address as the other offers.
* * *
Issue: John Cassavetes." PostScript: Essays in Film
and the Humanities Vol. 11 Number 2 (Winter 1992). Guest
editor: Ray Carney $10.
113 double-column pages (50,000 words).
A memorial tribute to
the life and work of John Cassavetes. Essays by Ray Carney, George
Kouvaros, Janice Zwierzynski, and Carole Zucker. Interviews with
Al Ruban and Seymour Cassel by Maria Viera. A history of the critical
appreciation of Cassavetes' work and a bibliography of writing
in English by Lucio Benedetto. The issue is illustrated with more
than 40 behind-the-scenes photos of Cassavetes and his actors and
contains many personal statements by him about his life and work.
This issue includes eight
essays by Ray Carney about Cassavetes' life and work: "A Polemical
Introduction: The Road Not Taken," and "Seven Program
Notes from the American Tour of the Complete Films, about Faces, Minnie
and Moskowitz, Woman Under the Influence, The
Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Love Streams." But
note that Ray Carney's contributions to the special Cassavetes
issue of PostScript magazine are also available as part
of the packet, The Collected Essays on the Life and Work of
John Cassavetes, which contains many other pieces by Prof.
Carney as well. The Collected Essays packet is listed separately
above at a price of $15. But if you would like a Xerox copy of
the entire PostScript magazine issue (which includes the
other additional material by the other authors listed above), the PostScript issue
is available separately for $10. You may order it with a credit
card through PayPal or through the mail with a money order. See
the instructions below.
* * *
packet comparing the two versions of Shadows is available: A
Detective Story – Going Inside the Heart and Mind of the
Artist: A Study of Cassavetes' Revisionary Process in the Two
Versions of Shadows. Available direct from the author through
this site for $15.
This packet contains the
following material (most of which was not included in the BFI Shadows book):
- An introductory essay
about the two versions of the film
- A table noting the
minute-by-minute, shot-by-shot differences in the two prints.
(In the British Film Institute book on Shadows, this table
appears in a highly abridged, edited version, at less than half
the length and detail presented here.)
- A conjectural reconstruction
of theshot sequence in the 1957 print
- A shot list for the
1959 re-shoot of the film
- The credits exactly
as presented in the film (including typographical and orthographical
vagaries indicating Cassavetes' view of the importance of various
- An expanded and corrected
credit listing that includes previous uncredited actors and appearances
(e.g. Cassavetes in a dancing sequence; Gena Rowlands in a chorus
girl sequence; and Danny Simon and Gene Shepherd in the nightclub
- Notes about the running
times of both versions and information about dates and places
of early screenings
- A bibliography of suggested
additional reading (including a note about serious mistakes in
previous treatments of the film by other authors)
of this material was included in the BFI book on Shadows due
to limitations on space. This 85-page (25,000 word) packet is not
for sale in any store and is available exclusively through this
site for $15.
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